Implications of the Coronavirus on US Schools, Hospitals and Businesses

Pandemics have dominated the news cycle for years. Diseases like Ebola, the Zika virus and now a new strain of Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have continued to make headlines. According to World Health Organization data, there have been nearly 9,800 confirmed cases of the new Coronavirus strain worldwide, mostly in China. There have been six confirmed cases in the US across three states, according to the CDC.Coronavirus, much like the common cold, is spread by close contact. Contact can be as simple as a handshake or even just touching an infected person. According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus have varied greatly from person to person. Certain individuals reported feeling mildly ill to nearly 130 confirmed fatal instances. Common symptoms of the virus include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Businesses, schools and hospitals alike are all at risk of an outbreak. The health of employees, students and patients is always the primary concern. As a result of the CDC travel advisory, many colleges and universities are canceling study abroad sessions in China. According to an Insider Higher Ed article, “China is the leading country of origin for international students in the US and the seventh-leading destination for Americans studying abroad.” Additionally, business and research travel has been halted as well. All of the implications may create a loss of revenue and other residual damage that can lead to serious long-term problems for organizations of all types and sizes.

In response to the potential loss of revenue, insurance carriers have introduced Catastrophe Business Interruption and Extra Expense products that provides coverage for any disease spread by direct or indirect contact. This coverage even protects from diseases that have yet to be discovered, much like this new strain of Coronavirus. Coverage under these new products can be triggered by a government quarantine or other factors involving medical personnel and patient stays.

The CDC recommends simple preventive measures to protect from infection. By sharing and encouraging these simple steps with your employees or students, you can reduce the likelihood of an outbreak at your organization.

As our risk of a potentially serious pandemic increases, it is important to prepare your organization for an outbreak. Talk to your trusted RCM&D Client Executive about the types of coverage that may be available to you as well as steps you can take to protect your organization.